Originally Released on: PS1 on Oct. 20, 1998.
Developer: Square Company Limited
Director: Tetsuya Takahashi
Composer: Yasunori Mitsuda
"Stand tall and shake the heavens," that is the inventive and powerful tagline for Xenogears, Squaresoft's classic RPG. It was originally introduced to the American public as a short demo included in Parasite Eve. It only gave a small glace to this epic RPG that clocks in at well over 80 hours for first time players. The RPG is an epic saga about destiny, psychological issues, byzantine power struggles, racism, reincarnation, and humanity's resilience. It is a classic RPG wrapped up with an excellent cast of characters, one of the best video game story lines, and an incredible musical score.
anime opening the words "I am alpha and omega. the beginning and the end. the first and the last." The camera pans over a massive ship, all of a sudden the emergency signals turn on. They use emergency measures to stop the problem, but nothing can stop it. The captain calls for the ship to be evacuated. As the evacuation ships leave, they are getting destroyed in their escape. The captain sets the self-destruct button to destroy the ship. From the wreckage a naked girl walks out and sees the remnants of the destroyed ship fall into the ocean. At first this opening really has little to do with the main story, but the importance shows itself about 75% in the storyline, and when it happens it is one hell of a plot twist.
The world of Xenogears is populated by two main empires, Aveh and Kislev. Aveh is a desert country with thousands of years of history and an ousted royal family. Kislev is an urban imperial city, with Nortune being the main capital of Kislev. They have been at war for centuries, gaining and losing little ground between then. The dynamic of this never ending war changes when they start excavating ancient robotic technology called Gears. It also changes when a mysterious military know as the "Gebler" starts to aid one of the land empires. As the story expand you are introduced into two sky kingdoms. The kingdom behind the mysterious force is a kingdom in the sky called Solaris ruled by Emperor Cain and the Gazel Ministry. Opposite of Solaris is the sky kingdom of Shevat. There is a singular religion called Ethos in this world, with a branch called Etone who purges and destroys creatures that go all over the world called wels. As you can see, the setting of Xenogears has a unique political dynamic that makes the world quite complicated.
|Elly, the female lead|
I can't really say anything about the storyline (since that would spoil it) except that it twists and turns like no RPG I have ever played. The game has incredible and crazy plot twists happening on a regular basis. The world of Xenogears as you know it will changes in dramatic plot twists very often. Xenogears's storyline is very long, it takes place over 80 hours and the narrative has flashbacks from over 10,000 years ago. To call Xenogears epic is the understatement of the century, it is one of the most epic games ever made. It would make a superb anime that would last a couple of hundred episodes. I would also suggest that you the gamer do not attach yourself to a character in the cast because lots of people die in Xenogears. The X in the Xenogears logo is blood red for good reason, because lots of characters die. The story is appropriately very dark and mature since it deals with mature subject matter. It uses lots of religious imagery and references to psychology. There is a lot of Judeo-christian names and characters in the game. The game also got a lot of controversy because one of the main storylines in the game is to destroy "God." As a contemporary to Evangelion, there is lots of comparison with Eva. There is no doubt that Evangelion had an influence on Xenogears, they both have religious imagery, a flawed main cast, a incredibly bleak and dark storyline, and a similar robot design. To be honest, I wish more modern Japanese RPG's would copy the dark atmosphere and storytelling of Xenogears.
|Billy Lee Black|
The battles in game are split up between a regular random battle, and the special gear battles. Each character can do a certain amount of attacks, and certain combos can create powerful attacks. The battle system may sound complex, but it is really easy to understand and master. The game game is excellent but had some downsides. The first main flaw is the slow text speed, in such a story-heavy game slow text can grate on you after a while. The second flaw is the dungeon design, which can range from good to atrocious. Everyone who has played this game will frown in sadness when you mention the word "Babel Tower" because of its grating design. The third flaw I can think of is a character, Chu Chu. I know that some people like adding "cute" mascot characters, but in a very dark game like Xenogears Chu Chu is an unwelcome piece of crap. It bothers the heck out of me when the world of Xenogears is crumbling around me and I have a stupid pink piece of crap in my part saying "chu."
Xenogears is an amazing RPG, one of my favorite RPG's of all time. It a great Japanese RPG with a dark storyline wrapped with one of the great videogame soundtracks. If you haven't experience this masterpiece, play it now. You can buy a digital download version of the game on PSN that is playable on PS3, PSP, and the upcoming PlayStation Portable console.